Shinjuku Dog

February 28th, Thursday:

DSCN4331

  • Vegetable Miso Ramen (Ramen, Pork, Bean Sprouts, Bamboo Shoots, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot, Onion)
  • Milk
  • Fried As You Like
  • Cheese Waffle
  • Kcal:861

It is only a few weeks until graduation, so we tried our best to serve desserts. Today, at the close of February,  we have the calcium rich Cheese Waffle. It’s faintly salty flavour is exquisite!

The Cheese Waffle today was technically called a “Shinjuku Dog”. It was like a hot dog, except the bun was a waffle and the sausage was a stick of cheese. The cheese was indeed slightly salty and the waffle sweet, so it was an interesting combination of flavours. The okonomi-age (Fried As You Like) was pretty popular with my students today. One of them commented it tasted like tako-yaki (savoury octopus donuts) and I feel it is a fairly accurate comparison.

Today was a smaller school, so during lunch the students hosting the lunch radio program usually interview someone, another student or teacher. Today, they interviewed the English teacher, so she answered some of the questions in English and gave a short speech encouraging the soon to be graduating third-years. So I thought it occurred quite nicely.

After lunch, I noticed one of the teachers using a sort of tool at his desk. I asked him about it and it was an electric eraser. He said that when we make a mistake with a pen, normally we use white out to fix it. But we cannot use white out on important documents, so we can use this electric eraser. It works basically by scratching away the thin top layer of a sheet of paper, we have to be careful not accidentally scratch a whole hole through the paper when using it. I thought it exemplified a fastidiousness for which Japan is often renowned.

みそ野菜ラーメン
牛乳
お好み揚げ
チーズワッフル

Plummy! Simmered Saury

February 25th, Monday:

DSCN4319

  • Scallop Soup (Scallop, Tofu, Carrot, Chinese Cabbage, Burdock)
  • Simmered Dried Sliced Daikon (Dried Sliced Daikon, Satsuma-age, Hijiki Seaweed, Carrot, Green Bean, Sliced Konnyaku)
  • Plum Simmered Saury
  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Kcal: 846

Tofu 「豆腐」 is a food handed down from China.  The character fu 「腐」does not mean “rotten” in China, but means “something gathered from a liquid to make something firm out of something soft”.

To explain what the kyuushoku tayori means by the above, I should say that 腐 means rotten in modern Japanese, so the characters for tofu seem to literally say “rotten beans”, which does not sound the most appealing.

Anyways, the saury fish today is not that beautiful and rather hard to eat, but being plum-simmered gives it a really nice taste. I say this as a very picky eater. So frightening to behold, but delicious. I like hijiki and satsuma-age and konnyaku so much, so I really liked the simmered daikon, but judging from my students plates, the saury was far more popular than the daikon….

Other exciting things today was one of the boys split his entire soup all across his lap and we got to eat ぼっけもんsweets by 風月堂 from Kagoshima prefecture, since the superintendent brought them back as omiyage! I ate it before I could take a picture. I’m sorry.

  • ほたて汁
  • 切り干し大根煮
  • さんまの梅煮
  • ごはん
  • 牛乳

Daikon Leaves! Yah!

February 20th, Wednesday:
DSCN4311
  • Pork Kim Chee Bowl (Pork, Egg, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot, Green Onion)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Tofu, Daikon Leaves)
  • Potato Wrap
  • Kcal: 853

Potato Wrap is potato wrapped in a tea linen, flavored with butter, and steam baked in an egg cup. It is finished when it has a very simple and light taste. 

To be honest, I didn’t feel that today’s potato wrap was all the popular with the students at my school today. I of course didn’t have a problem with it but it did have bit of a ‘frozen food’ feel to it. However the kim chee was very popular, all the left overs being eaten.
I can’t recall having daikon leaves in lunch before. This doesn’t mean we haven’t, since I on a whole do not have a good sense of time and thus memory, but at least we haven’t had them very often. They tasted good though and it is nice to know that we are using more parts of the plant not just throwing out the perfectly good tops of the daikon radish.

豚キムチ丼
牛乳
みそ汁
じゃがいも茶巾包み

Spicy Coconut Milk Rice

November 20th, Thursday:

DSCN4101

  • Shoyu Ramen (Pork, Bean Sprout, Bamboo Shoot, Green Onion, Chinese Cabbage, Carrot)
  • Milk
  • Chidjimi
  • Mandarin Yogurt
  • Kcal: 775

Have your hands ever turned yellow after eating too many mandarin oranges? That comes from the pigment in the oranges. If you stop eating so many, your normal skin colour will return.

Today, we had two boys from Malaysia visit the school I went to. Because they didn’t speak Japanese and most of the teachers don’t speak English, I accompanied them to the classes as an interpreter. It was actually my first time formally serving as an interpreter and it was less difficult that I feared.

It was interesting to observe the interaction of my students/teachers with the boys. Everyone at school went out of their way to make the boys welcome, although I think there were still times when either sides were at a loss or confused about what to say/act. During the lunch break, I took them to the gymnasium to play basketball with the other students. While everyone tried to be friendly, it was over all very awkward. But at the end of the break, about 10 girls in unison together said “hello” in Malaysian to the boys. It was really touching and I felt quite proud.

Reflecting on this situation and other occasions, I think that despite what some people may say, Japanese are very interested and friendly people. (Really, I know this from my everyday experience.) But the large cultural difference between Japan and many other countries makes situations awkward or difficult. Japan should of course value and preserve their own beautiful culture. However, the reason that learning English is important is not to become perfectly fluent speakers, but to understand how to bridge that cultural gap when necessary.  cf. Nitobe Inazo.

しょうゆラーメン
牛乳
ちぢみ
みかんヨーグルト